Zaki Badawi: Stop Wearing the Hijab

Dr. Zaki Badawi, head of the Muslim College in London and chairman of the Council of Mosques and Imams, has issued a fatwa encouraging Muslim women to stop wearing the hijab in light of recent violence against Muslims in Britain following the attacks of 7/7. He is quoted as saying “dress is meant to protect from harm, not invite to it.?

This fatwa is similar to one disseminated in America following 9/11 in which Shaykh bin Bayyah urged Muslim women to cover their hair using an alternative to the hijab, for the American context it meant something like a baseball cap or a wig. While Shaykh bin Bayyah did not say that women should stop wearing the hijab, Dr. Badawi is.

There is a longstanding principle in Islamic jurisprudence that one can hide one’s Islam if one fears for safety and this is the heart of the matter: do Muslim in the UK feel so threatened that they must now stop wearing – what many consider to be obligatory – the hijab? This is a question that only Muslim women in Britain can answer for themselves, but it does raise some other interesting questions for hiding one’s Islam. Should Muslim men shave their beards? Should British Muslims adopt Anglo-Saxon names and shed their Muslim sounding ones?

In a recent post we saw a Muslim scholar’s fatwa for Spanish Muslims during the Inqusition in which he encouraged them to feign the ritual practices of Catholics if under duress. The question for Muslims in the UK will be where one draws the line and strikes a balance between fear of safety and fulfilling their religious duties, indeed a tricky question.

Dr. Badawi was also recently barred from entering the US.

For media coverage of the fatwa you can follow the links below: BBC News The Mirror The Guardian The Telegraph The Herald Sun Townsville Bulletin

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